MTG Arena Decks to Try for the AFR Expansion

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jul, 19th 2021

Now that MTG Arena’s AFR (Adventures in Forgotten Realms) is here, it’s time to look at new decks! We’ve got one more run with the current Standard Rotation before all the overpowered cards of the last year or so cycle out. Personally, it’s rare that I look forward to a rotation, but this is certainly one of those times. I’m looking forward to no more Bonecrusher Giant, etc. I’m very excited about AFR though, as someone who has played D&D since the early 90s. My question though is where is Elminster?! Why use Mordenkainen, a Greyhawk NPC, in a Faerun setting?

Powerful Cards

I’m definitely disappointed by that, but a lot of the lore cards fit perfectly. What’s more, just because it’s a lore card, doesn’t make it overpowered. There are some excellent and powerful cards in AFR for MTG Arena, so decks will be changing up. If you want to see a whole heap of those new cards, you can use this article as a reference point. Some of the cards are more powerful than others. Before we get started on the MTG Arena AFR decks, what are the best cards themselves? How about the Grand Master of Flowers? It’s Bahamut. While only one of its abilities is worth anything, the fact that it becomes indestructible, flying 7/7 Dragon God is quite useful. Since it has no negative ticks, it will not stop being this creature, if it transforms.

Having a 7/7 flyer that has to be exiled is really intimidating. Then there’s Ebondeath, Dracolich in Black. It’s absolutely bloody bonkers. A 4 mana 5/2 Flash/Fly legendary? Sure it comes into play tapped, but it can always come back. As long as a creature that was not Ebondeath dies in a turn, you can re-cast him. Absolute insanity. There’s also Inferno of the Star Mounts in Red. It can’t be countered, which has real Carnage Tyrant vibes. It has Flying/Haste and is a 6/6 flyer for 6. It’s a little bit of a gimmick card, but you can, in theory, hit the other player for 20 damage if it gets inflated with its ability, while it’s got 20 power. 

I think that’s going to be way better in Historic perhaps, but we’ll see. It’s a whole heap of fun though. I also want to highlight The Book of Exalted Deeds. You can create a Prison deck for the first time in a while. You can sacrifice the Book of Exalted Deeds to grant an Angel “You can’t lose the game and your opponents can’t win the game.” So that player will no doubt want to kill that creature. But…what if they can’t? The solution is clear: Faceless Haven. Turn it into a creature, and then grant it the ability. As the turn ends, it will return to being land, and can no longer be killed.

We don’t have to make it a creature! If your opponent can’t target lands, they may as well submit, because there’s no point. They can’t beat you, no matter what they try. It’s also an excellent upgrade to Griffin Aerie in terms of creating creatures. Finally, I want to talk about Demilich. A 4-blue creature, it costs 1 blue less for each instant and sorcery you played this turn. It’s got solid stats, has cost reduction, lets you recast spells from the grave (by exiling them), and you can cast it from the grave by exiling instants/sorcery cards from the grave in addition to its costs. I really think it will make a splash outside of Standard, but I can see it being used in Izzet Spells.

There are, of course, other amazing cards in this set. AFR might have the most consistently good cards for decks in MTG Arena that I’ve experienced in a while. Good, without everything feeling busted is important.

Sisyphean Obstacles (Mono-White Lifegain)

Editor’s Note: The Book of Exalted Deeds received a ban before this could even go live. There’s talk that it could get unbanned in the Standard Rotation 2022 (with Innistraad: Midnight Hunt). This deck can still very much win without the Book. Instead, slot in a trio of Cleric Class.

I have to talk about Mono-White Lifegain first, even if there are concepts that I think are more powerful. My favorite way to win Magic is by a weird, awkward condition that my opponent cannot answer for. My other favorite is when my opponent literally has no option to win and has to concede. This deck has a win-con (flood of Angels, constant damage), but it has an alternate win condition: Rage Quit. As I said above, The Book of Exalted Deeds can essentially be a Platinum Angel. Now our opponent can’t win, and I can’t lose. We target the Faceless Haven and let it become a land again.

If they have no way to target the land for removal, we win the game. The only way our opponent can win at that point is if we concede, or we run out of time in the match. That can still definitely happen, so don’t be a jerk to people. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t use this as a way to bully other players. Now, this card does create an Enlightenment Token, and it can be removed – if you leave it as a creature. So beware of Heartless Act! You can run Book in a few MTG Arean AFR decks, but I wanted to talk about this deck because it’s very simple.

How Does It Work?

We’ll keep this strategy brief because we’ve talked about this concept since Time Immemorial. Mono-White Lifegain’s goal is to do exactly what it says on the tin: gain life. We use all the strategies you’re familiar with to do so. We aren’t gaining ridiculous amounts of life though, but we’re getting some. Turn-2 Daxos grants us 1 life whenever a creature enters play for us or dies, for example. We partner that with Heliod, Sun-Crowned on turn 3. He gives a creature (or enchantment) +1/+1 whenever we gain life, and can grant lifelink for the turn. He’s a 5/5 with Indestructible and isn’t a creature until our Devotion to White is 5 or more.

We combine that with Linden, the Steadfast Queen that gives us 1 life per attacking creature of ours a turn. We want Speaker of the Heavens too, since if we have 7 or more life above our starting total, we can create 4/4 Flying Angels. We have Luminarch Aspirant to buff allies, especially ones that grant us life. All this partners nicely with The Book of Exalted Deeds a 3-white legendary artifact.

At the beginning of our end step, if we gained 3 or more life, we create a 3/3 flying Angel token. Conversely, we can tap 3 white, tap it, and exile the Book. This puts an Enlightenment Counter on a target Angel. This grants it “You cannot lose the game and your opponents cannot win the game.” We don’t want to do this without at least 3 Snow Mana, for Faceless Haven’s ability. That turns it into a 4/3 creature with Vigilance and all creature types for the turn.

Target it, and suddenly, we can’t lose the game! Your opponent has one turn to eliminate that threat. We protect Faceless Haven with Selfless Saviour and Alseid of Life’s Bounty. Alseid can grant it protection from a color for the turn, and Saviour, the Goodest Boy, Yes He Is, grants indestructible. Thus, we can’t lose the game! As long as your opponent can’t remove that land, we are guaranteed victory. From there, we just swing with Angels at our leisure until the game’s over! Is it as safe as the Blue/White deck? Of course not. That’s a control deck! It’s also a very familiar deck type, so I’ll include it as a bonus. I know this is a really brief description, but that’s really all there is to the deck.

Since Book of Exalted Deeds got banned, we’re going to replace it with Cleric Class. Its base power has you gain 1 more life than normal, anytime you would gain it. Its Level 2 (4 mana) gives a +1/+1 counter on a creature of yours anytime you gain life. Then Level 3 (5 mana) brings a creature back from the grave and you gain life equal to its toughness. An excellent card overall, especially with the cost of the Enchantment itself only being one white.


4 Alseid of Life’s Bounty

4 Charming Prince

3 Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

4 Faceless Haven

3 Heliod, Sun-Crowned

2 Legion Angel

1 Linden, the Steadfast Queen

4 Luminarch Aspirant

4 Selfless Savior

4 Skyclave Apparition

20 Snow-Covered Plains

4 Speaker of the Heavens

3 The Book of Exalted Deeds


2 Legion Angel

Alternate Blue/White Decklist


1 Yorion, Sky Nomad


4 Archon of Sun’s Grace

4 Banishing Light

2 Castle Ardenvale

4 Charming Prince

4 Doomskar

4 Elspeth Conquers Death

4 Emeria’s Call

4 Faceless Haven

1 Field of Ruin

4 Glass Casket

4 Mazemind Tome

4 Omen of the Sun

4 Skyclave Apparition

24 Snow-Covered Plains

4 The Birth of Meletis

3 The Book of Exalted Deeds

2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon


1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

Final Thoughts

This is a deck that only gained one new, awesome card. There’s no shame in that either! The other MTG Arena AFR decks will probably be shaken up a bit more, but I love that with this one card, you can go from a crapshoot deck to a deck that has a nearly guaranteed win condition if your opponent can’t deal with lands. It may lead to people sideboarding in more land removal, just to be on the safe side, and I like that. It’s an excellent card without being wildly overpowered (in most situations). The Book of Exalted Deeds is just what Mono-White Lifegain needs. This deck may be unplayable in a few months, so now’s the time to experience it.

Mono-Red Dragons Still Rule (Mono-Red Midrange Deck)

Inferno of Star Mounts is the new legendary dragon, and it has some slightly Carnage Tyrant vibes to it. A huge creature that can’t be countered? I was in love immediately. A 6/6 Flying/Haste for 6, can be a game-ender in the right deck. In this deck, it can be too! Sure it’s a little pricey, but it’s a deck we’re probably going to see enough Treasure Tokens to make it irrelevant. Or we can just play a turn-4 Leyline Tyrant and set up each and every turn for a win. Between the two of them, one will close out games for us.

Another deck that isn’t especially complex, Mono-Red Dragons is a lot of fun. I don’t think we talked about Leyline Tyrant decks all that much, but it surely helps this new dragon win the game immediately. What’s better than suddenly dealing 20 damage to your opponent? Not a whole lot. If by some miracle, they survived this game without taking damage, we can just swing on them to make sure they are put down. Consider that if you trigger that “free” 20 damage, we’ve also got a 20/6 Flying/Haste dragon just sitting around.

How Does It Work?

This is sadly, not a deck that starts off fast. We really don’t have any creatures that cost less than 3 mana. Our early game is likely going to be casting spells to slow down opponents, or playing Orb of Dragonkind and Mazemind Tome. Orb of Dragonkind is a brand-new artifact, and you can tap 1 and it to grant two mana of any combination. It can only be spent on Dragon spells or activating Dragon abilities. Or you can sacrifice it and tap 1 red, to look at your top seven cards. You can reveal a Dragon from among them and put it into your hand.

This ensures we get a quality Dragon to set up later game shenanigans. Hopefully a turn-4 Leyline Tyrant. This 4/4 flyer for 4 makes us not lose Red Mana as steps and phases end. We can tap out every turn and build up a near limitless supply of mana. When this card dies, we can tap as much red as we want. When we do, it deals that much damage to any target. So it’s a win condition on its own.

We use cards like Bonecrusher Giant to slow people down and get aggressive, and other spells to tide us over. The new Dragon’s Fire will help us eliminate threats too. It’s a two-cost instant, and we can choose to reveal a Dragon as we cast this. Normally this spell deals 3 damage to a creature or planeswalker. If we reveal a dragon, we deal its Power in damage instead.

We’ve got early game options. Shredded Sails, Frostbite, Spikefield Hazard, quite a few cheap options. Once we have a Leyline Tyrant out though, we want to stock mana up. Goldspan Dragon helps too since it creates a Treasure Token anytime it attacks or is the target of a spell. We can even ping it with our own spells. On top of that, as long as it’s out, Treasure Tokens of ours sac for two mana of any one color, instead of one.

You can probably see where this is going. Inferno of Star Mounts is our other win con. A 6/6 for 6 that can’t be countered, it has Flying/Haste. In addition, you can tap 1 red to give it +1/+0 for the turn. When its power becomes 20 this way, it deals 20 damage to any target. If that’s not enough damage, we can just attack with it too. That’s our whole strategy! That’s how you win with this deck.


4 Bonecrusher Giant

3 Faceless Haven

3 Frost Bite

4 Goldspan Dragon

3 Inferno of the Star Mounts

4 Leyline Tyrant

4 Mazemind Tome

4 Orb of Dragonkind

4 Shatterskull Smashing

2 Shredded Sails

21 Snow-Covered Mountain

2 Spikefield Hazard

2 Dragon’s Fire

Final Thoughts

I’m not sure if this will wind up being a Tier-1 deck, because it’s frankly, a bit on the slow side. The early turns are dependent on your opponent not beating you down. Hopefully, you get a chance to build up mana with the Leyline Tyrant though because it could get immediately killed. Remember though, you have lots of damage coming in from the skies. You can use Leyline as a distraction, and deal damage with your other Dragons and Giants consistently, to make your opponent pick a fate. That’s what makes this deck fun. How are we going to win? Who knows?! Not our opponent!

You Carefully Open The Door. . .(Blue/White/Green Dungeons Combo)

I adore the idea of the Venture mechanic in MTG Arena for Adventures in Forgotten Realms. My original thought was Black/Green and used Acerak the Archlight in great amounts. You would just bounce him back to your hand over and over to venture through the dungeon. However, there are better ways to get this thing popping off. We can also use the new planeswalker, Ellywick Tumblestrum, who has the power to venture for us every turn. She will reward us by giving us +2/+2 to our creatures (in addition to trample and haste) for each unique dungeon we’ve completed!

We get all three done? That’s +6/+6 to every creature we play until the game ends. It’s an emblem, so we don’t have to stress. So much of this deck enhances the ability to venture into dungeons, and the best part is that you can have all three out at once. You can pick the ability that fits your needs the best. Right now there are three dungeons: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, Tomb of Annihilation, Lost Mine of Phandelver. Which do we want to focus on? Well, it really depends, if I can be honest.

My favorites are Dungeon of the Mad Mage and Tomb of Annihilation! Dungeon of the Mad Mage’s ultimate ability lets you draw three cards, reveal them and cast one without paying its mana cost. For a control/combo style deck, that’s real power. However, Cradle of the Death God in Tomb creates Atropal, a legendary 4/4 black God Horror token with Deathtouch. We can get through these incredibly fast with some of our cards. Like what, though? I’m glad you asked!

How Does It Work?

What’s our win condition? Damage. Lots of damage. We want to keep Ellywick Tumblestrum around until her -7. We’d like to keep her around for the whole game though since she can guarantee us a Venture. A 4-cost, 4 Loyalty green Planeswalker, her +1 has us Venture into the dungeon. She’s got a -2 also, which lets you look at the top six of your deck. You can reveal a creature and put it into your hand, and if it’s legendary, you gain 3 life. Eh. Mediocre at best. We do have quite a few legendaries though. But that -7 like we already said, is amazing. For each dungeon we complete (uniquely named), each creature gets +2/+2, trample, and haste.

Our opponent can’t stop that. Suddenly, our Cloister Gargoyle, for example, is a 9/12 with Flying, Trample, and Haste if we complete all three dungeons! So much of this deck triggers venture. If it doesn’t, cards like Charming Prince can let us do it again! As you probably remember, it’s a 2-cost white creature and it can do a few things. We want to bounce an ally back out and into play again. In particular, one of our cards that Venture when it comes into play.

Nadaar, Selfless Paladin is one of those. A 3/3 for 3 with Vigilance, whenever it enters play or attacks, you venture. Cloister Gargoyle also ventures when it comes into play. We also want to have an early Varis, Silverymoon Ranger. This 3/3 with Reach/Ward 1 doesn’t Venture when it comes into play, it can aid you. Whenever you cast a creature or planeswalker spell, once per turn, Venture. On top of that, whenever you complete a dungeon, create a 2/2 green Wolf creature token. The most important card in terms of getting stuff done though is our ⅔ Legendary Blue/White, Hama Pashar, Ruin Seeker. She makes room abilities trigger a second time. At least, for dungeons you own.

Yuan-Ti Malison can venture anytime it deals combat damage to a player. While that’s neat, he can’t be blocked, as long as he’s attacking alone. A 2/1, can suddenly be a terror when it’s an 8/7 that can’t be blocked. Finally, we have one of the more expensive cards in the deck, Chulane, Teller of Tales. This is a 2/4 Vigilance, and whenever you cast a creature spell, draw a card. Then you can put a land in your hand in play. That’s amazing for mana ramp, that’s for sure. You can also pay 3 colorless and tap it to return a creature you control to its owner’s hand. Need to keep triggering those Ventures? That’s how you can do it again!

You want to use these to play aggressively and venture over and over. You can venture as many times a turn as you have ways to do so. The longest dungeon is Dungeon of the Mad Mage, so if you just want to end one quickly to get it out of the way, Lost Mine or Tomb are the best ones. What do these do though? Each has a pair of paths you can pick, sometimes multiple chances to change paths. Tomb of Annihilation for example has a path where you make all player’s life, which is longer than the right path. The right path has Oubliette instead of Veils of Fear and Sandfall Cell, which makes you discard a card, and sacrifice an artifact, creature, and a land. You probably don’t want to do that in this deck.

Not every path is a benefit for you, after all. Lost Mine of Phandelver is a shorter dungeon. It starts with Cave Entrance, and branches to either Goblin Lair, or Mine Tunnels. So you either make a 1/1 Goblin token or create a Treasure token. Both of those can either funnel into Dark Pool (each opponent loses 1 life, you gain 1 life) or head down other paths. Goblin Lair branches into Storeroom (Put a +1/+1 counter on a creature) and Fungi Cavern can make a creature have -4/-0 until your next turn. Perhaps the weakest of the rewards, you draw a card. Though triggering it twice is awesome.

Dungeon of the Mad Mage has so much going on. The links take you right to the cards. I think Dungeon of the Mad Mage is my favorite, in terms of sheer volume of power. You can make creatures unable to attack, make Treasure tokens, exile cards and play them if you want, make skeleton tokens, Scry, and the draw 3 reward I already mentioned. These are fun, but remember, the goal is to get them completed, so you can do the +6/+6 damage numbers. That’s how you win.


4 Yuan-Ti Malison

4 You Find a Cursed Idol

4 Nadaar, Selfless Paladin

4 Brazen Borrower

4 Ellywick Tumblestrum

4 Hengegate Pathway

4 Branchloft Pathway

4 Barkchannel Pathway

4 Temple of Mystery

3 Charming Prince

3 Cloister Gargoyle

3 Varis, Silverymoon Ranger

3 Hama Pashar, Ruin Seeker

2 Elspeth Conquers Death

2 Island

2 Forest

2 Temple of Plenty

2 Fabled Passage

1 Chulane, Teller of Tales

1 Plains

Final Thoughts

This is kind of a janky deck, but I’m a fan of what it can pump out. It’s all about getting through the dungeons as fast as possible. You want to be triggering them a few times a turn if you can. Constantly playing low-cost creatures, attacking, doing whatever it takes. You can just do it so often, which is beautiful. You can also trigger a planeswalker, play another one, sacrificing the old one, and play the next one to Venture yet again. You want to get all three done, buff your allies with the planeswalker emblem, and laugh like a madperson when you swing for tons of lethal damage.

Mono-Blue Mill is Back! (Blue Mill Combo Deck)

Oh boy! Mono-Blue Mill is incredible! I was already a huge fan of this deck, and it just gets better and better. When I saw Demilich and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, I knew what had to exist. This combo! And of course, Ruin Crabs are very much a thing. A simple, single-minded deck that punishes people for daring to have cards in their deck. Of course, Yorion decks make this much harder to win with, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. Easy to play, lots of really satisfying nonsense, it’s just such a hoot. We don’t even care if we discard Demilich, because we can just play him from the grave!

Teferi’s Tutelage combined with tons of mono-blue draw is going to equal pure disaster. Each time we draw a card, our opponent mills two! We pair this with a potential flood of Sharks, from Shark Typhoon as a “just in case”. We don’t really need to get it in play, but it’s fun. So what’s going down in Mono-Blue now?

How Does It Work?

Like the old-style of Mill deck, we need Ruin Crab. Turn 1, Turn 2, maybe even on turn 3. So anytime we play a land, our opponent has to mill three cards. We would love to see a turn 3 Teferi’s Tutelage as well. Quite a few cards in our deck are card draw, after all. Opt, Into the Story as examples. We do draw a card every turn also to help. Demilich is incredible though. A 4-cost Skeleton Wizard that’s a 4/3, it costs 1 blue less for each instant and sorcery we’ve cast this turn.

So you can cast this for 0 mana! Whenever it attacks, you can exile up to one target instant or sorcery from your graveyard. Copy it. You can cast the copy. You can also cast this from your graveyard by exiling four instant/sorcery cards from your graveyard, in addition to the additional casting costs. So consider this, if you will. We cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. Each opponent exiles cards from the top of their library until that player exiled cards with a total mana value of 20 or more. Attack with Demilich, exile Tasha’s, do it again. It’s a 3-cost Sorcery, so we can do it yet again.

If our opponent is playing just low-cost cards, we could easily get 20 cards out of their deck. Also, consider Lands have Mana Value of 0, so it’s just easy to mill someone into oblivion. That’s more than enough to make someone bleed out. With Teferi’s Tutelage in play, we can also cast Into the Story to draw 4, and make someone mill 8! It’s a very easy-to-grasp concept. We’ve got counters (Sweet Oblivion, Negate, Didn’t Say Please, Mystical Dispute) to also slow people down.

We combine all this power with Maddening Cacophony, where we definitely want to pay the Kicker (6 mana total). Normally it mills 8 cards from your opponent, and if kicked, they mill half their library, rounded up instead. You could drop this, then Tasha’s combo to potentially just win the game!


4 Opt

4 Ruin Crab

1 So Tiny

3 Anticipate

4 Maddening Cacophony

1 Negate

1 Sweet Oblivion

1 Mystical Dispute

1 Demilich

4 Teferi’s Tutelage

4 Didn’t Say Please

4 Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

4 Into the Story

4 Mystic Sanctuary

1 Shark Typhoon

1 Castle Vantress

3 Fabled Passage

1 Field of Ruin

14 Island


2 So Tiny

2 Negate

2 Mystical Dispute

1 Essence Scatter

2 Test of Talents

2 Lullmage’s Domination

2 Soul-Guide Lantern

1 Anticognition

1 Charix, the Raging Isle

Final Thoughts

Oh goodness, I love this concept so much. It’s going to be a blast. Whether it’s a Tier 1 deck or not, that remains to be seen. But it’s very easy to put together, very powerful, and starts ramping out of control nearly on turn 2. You get a few crabs out and start milling people, it’s just going to get ugly. Sure, you have to wait til turn 2 to start milling. People can really underestimate how powerful mill decks are though. A few cards here and there aren’t so bad, but suddenly, you have 8 cards in your grave, and no lands are left to draw.

Naya Legendary Aggro is Incredible (Red/Green/White Aggro)

I’m in love with this idea if I can be perfectly frank. It’s almost entirely legendary creatures, but we don’t have to stress costs too much. The Bard Class card is absolutely busted for what it does. We combine that with Minsc, Beloved Ranger, and Drizzt Do’Urden to maximize our damage. Level Two Bard Class makes our Legendary spells cost 1 red and 1 green less, but only affects the colored mana, not colorless. So suddenly, Minsc costs 1 White mana to cast, and Drizzt costs 3 colorless and 1 white (4 total). We can buff our allies in a variety of ways, and just do filthy things to the other player.

We can just stack lifegain, +1/+1 counters, or just double someone’s Power/Toughness just because! All it’s genuinely missing is Trample (except Boo). Though Double Strike could endeavor to the same thing. So we could transform Drizzt Do’Urden from a 3/3 Double Strike into a 15/15 Double Strike if we want! There are just so many options, and I’m incredibly excited to see this deck come to life. I will say it is not a cheap investment. 35 rares, 6 mythic rares, for point of reference. I think it will wind up being a very powerful deck though. With enough mana, we can do some filthy things to people and there’s not a whole lot that can be done to stop it without a board wipe.

How Does It Work?

Bard Class is so powerful. I can see it being used in more traditional Gruul decks as a possibility. The baseline card (1 red, 1 green) has the ability “Legendary creatures you control enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on them”. So that stacks with Grumgully, the Generous, and any other +1/+1 counter ability. For 2 mana, you level it up to 2. This makes Legendary spells you cast cost 1 red/1 green less to cast. Now suddenly, Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll costs 0 mana to play. Klothys, God of Destiny costs 1 colorless, and Minsc, Beloved Ranger costs 1 white.

The final ability of Bard Class is also neat. Whenever you cast a legendary spell, exile the top two cards of your library. You can play them this turn if you’d like. You still have to pay mana costs, but consider how cheap that’s going to be potentially. This can also allow you to play lands if you have missed a land drop. This level 3 power costs 5 mana (1 red, 1 green). Getting this on turn 2 is so potent. We have another class in this deck, Ranger Class. It’s not as powerful as Bard, but it’s good. You can have both out at once, and additional copies of them to boot, and they stack.

Ranger Class creates a 2/2 Wolf token when cast and level 2 costs 2 mana (1 green). Whenever you attack at this level, you put a +1/+1 counter on a target attacking creature. Yet another way to buff! Then at level 3 (4 mana), you can look at the top card of your library at any time. You can cast creatures found this way any time. Consider that we don’t have any spells in the deck. Just lands and creatures. It’s a fantastic way in the mid-game to keep casting cards. In particular, we want to be able to cast Prosperous Innkeeper and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer early. Prosperous Innkeeper gives us a Treasure Token when summoned, and anytime another creature enters play for us, we gain 1 life.

Trelasarra gains a +1/+1 counter each time you gain life, and you can also Scry 1. As a baseline 2/2, that we can play for 1 mana (1 white) instead of 2 (1 green 1 white) with Bard Class, you can see the power this combo presents. It’s only one of the bits of this deck that are amazing. With Bard Class, Gallia of the Endless Dance also casts for 0! She exists to help us draw cards when we attack with numbers. But these all help set up combos, they don’t really do the heavy lifting. Grumgully helps too since he makes non-humans we control come in with another +1/+1 counter on them.

But let’s talk about our big damage! Minsc, Beloved Ranger can (and should) come into play for 1 white. A 3/3 Human Ranger, also summons Boo, a legendary 1/1 red Hamster creature token with Trample and Haste. Boo is going to be an ideal way to win thanks to his Trample. You can also tap X to give a target creature Power and Toughness (baseline) of X/X, and they also become a Giant in addition to its other types. You can only do this as a Sorcery. So in theory, you could make Boo a 20/20 Trample/Haste! You can do this multiple times a turn, depending on how much mana you have.

That’s where Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll comes into play. A 2/2, it also has Pack Tactics: If you attack with creatures with a total of 6 or greater power, all of your attackers gain another +1/+0 for the turn. But you can pay 4 mana (1 red, 1 green) to Double Targ Nar’s Power and Toughness for the turn. Turn Minsc into say, a 6/6 or 8/8, pay another 4 mana, and double it! With enough mana, you could do this again and again! Having Klothys can help with mana, a little bit. At the beginning of your pre-combat main phase, you can exile a card from a graveyard. If it’s land, gain 1 green or red mana in your pool. Otherwise, you gain 2 life, and Klothys deals 2 to each opponent.

That’s my preferred way to win with this. Using Boo or Targ Nar, and inflating wildly out of control. We can also use this with Drizzt Do’Urden. This 3/3 Double STrike creates a Guenhwyvar creature token (4/1 Legendary with Trample). Whenever a creature dies (for anyone), if it had Power greater than Drizzt’s, put a number of +1/+1 counters on Drizzt equal to the difference. This allows you to be incredibly aggressive. You use Targ Nar to attack, buff him to the point where he will always win trades, and make Drizzt grow. He will likely only grow so far because the dead creature has to have more Power than him. But we can make him easily into something like a 13/13 Double Strike. Your opponent has to really consider our big creature attacks. These creatures make it so easy to win.


4 Forest

2 Nadaar, Selfless Paladin

4 Bonecrusher Giant

1 Temple of Triumph

1 Temple of Plenty

1 Temple of Abandon

4 Cragcrown Pathway

2 Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll

1 Radha, Heart of Keld

1 Grumgully, the Generous

2 Showdown of the Skalds

2 Klothys, God of Destiny

4 Needleverge Pathway

4 Branchloft Pathway

2 Ranger Class

4 Bard Class

4 Prosperous Innkeeper

4 Drizzt Do’Urden

3 Mountain

4 Minsc, Beloved Ranger

2 Plains

1 Gallia of the Endless Dance

3 Trelasarra, Moon Dancer

Final Thoughts

If I were to make a Naya (Red/Green/White), it would be this deck. It also features Bonecrusher Giant, which we will have to rotate out, and the new Nadaar, Selfless Paladin. It’s a fantastic deck, and can move very fast thanks to Bard Class. I’m a big fan of how much ramp you can do with creatures. If you aren’t paying full cost for minions, that mana can then go into playing abilities that make our attacks far more lethal. That’s what makes the deck pretty busted if you ask me.

Hail Lolth, Spider Queen! (Mono-Black Aggro)

One of the first decks I ever played in MTG was Mono-Black Aggro. Zombies, Skeletons, stuff like that. Very easy to play. Play Swamp, play creature, attack. Rinse and repeat until satisfied. We’re going to use a similar strategy here, and hopefully, we draw into the one copy of Lolth, Spider Queen that’s in the deck. She’s very powerful but is also a 5-cost planeswalker. It’s a little harder to get that into play. Sure, we have Ebondeath, Dracolich, but it can be cast on our opponent’s turn, and/or from the graveyard, so that’s significantly better.

There are cards that might not make sense, like Dungeon Crawler. It can come back from the grave when we complete a dungeon, but no card in this deck ventures. So why’s it here? Because it’s a 2/1 for 1, so it’s an amazing turn 1 card (since it comes into play tapped). We’re going to just push damage over and over until we win. This deck feels like it will be rotation proof though, and I adore that. It’s a simple deck, and it’s a fun one. It will take some tweaking to make it Ranked Viable I think, but it’s a great start if you’re dipping your feet into MTG Arena decks for AFR.

How Does It Work?

The name of the game is “dumpster damage as fast as possible,” and Mono-Black Aggro can certainly do it. This deck is mostly “play creature, attack”, with a handful of removal options. This is including the new Power Word Kill, which on one hand, feels restrictive. It destroys a non-Angel, non-Demon, non-Devil, non-Dragon creature. We’ve got plenty of other targets for it though, so don’t worry. Plus, 2 mana! That’s an incredible value.

What makes this deck such a strong value for aggro is that we have two creatures that can come back from the grave, as well as the Agadeem’s Awakening spell. Skyclave Shade is a 3/1 that can come into play with two +1/+1 counters if you Kick it (total of 5 mana). It can also come back via Landfall. If you play a land, and he’s in the grave, you can choose to cast it from there. Very aggressive, and you can just keep playing it over and over.

We also have the new Ebondeath, Dracolich. For 4 mana, it’s a 5/2 Flash/Flying. It enters play tapped, as well. But you can cast it from the grave if a creature not named Ebondeath, Dracolich died this turn. So you can also discard it, and cast it at a later date if needed. You can honestly just win off of Ebondeath if your opponent has no flyers. This deck is all about simply playing lots of creatures. Eyetwitch and Dungeon Crawler are great turn-1 drops. Eyetwitch is a 1/1 Flyer and Learns when it dies. That means we can reveal a Lesson card from our sideboard and put it in our hands. Or, if we’d rather, we can discard a card and draw a card. That can be how we pitch Ebondeath or Skyclave Shade if we want to play it from the grave.

We have another “Enters play tapped” in the two-mana Wight, which is also a 3/2. It comes with a special power that can help us build an army, thanks to Life Drain. Whenever a creature dies that was damaged by Wight, you create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token, and exile the original creature that died. That means your opponent can’t use it for retrieval shenanigans! Fantastic if Wight has to die against something bigger, and in response, you delete it with Power Word Kill. Since virtually everything in this deck is inexpensive, we pair it all with Bloodsky Berserker as a way to get a slowly growing creature. It’s a 1/1 for 2, and each turn, when you cast your second spell for the turn, give this creature two +1/+1 counters, and grant it Menace for the turn.

This means we can do it on our opponent’s turn too! We just have to make sure we have two spells to cast on their turn. Power Word Kill, Soul Shatter, and Ebondeath all work here. Soul Shatter’s a great way to slow people down. It makes each opponent sacrifice a creature or planeswalker with the highest Mana Value among the creatures and planeswalkers they control. They play something huge, and you just make them delete it. Love it.

Nighthawk Scavenger can be a great way to make sure you stay in the game, as Flying/Deathtouch/Lifelink for 3. It’s a 1+*/3 as well. Its power is 1 plus the number of card types in your opponents’ graveyards. It has the potential to be decent but isn’t always going to be huge. Still, a ⅓ Flying/Deathtouch/Lifelink is wonderful on its own. If we get Lolth’s Ultimate, it doesn’t matter what kind of damage we do each turn. She’s a 5-cost, with 4 Loyalty. Whenever a creature we control dies, she also gains a Loyalty Counter. She has no Uptick abilities either, so you have to play very aggressively.

Here’s what she can do:

  • +0: You draw a card and you lose 1 life.
  • -3: Create two 2/1 black Spider creature tokens with Menace and Reach.
  • -8: You get an emblem with “Whenever an opponent is dealt combat damage by one or more creatures you control, if that player lost less than 8 life this turn, they lose life equal to the difference.”

By that, you could hit with a 1/1, and deal an additional 7 damage in life loss. You can only do that once per turn though, but it’s going to be enough. I’d love to find more room for her in the deck, but I just don’t think there’s room. If things go bad, we can cast Agadeem’s Awakening to return cards from the graveyard that cost X or less (each creature has a different Mana Value). We just push aggression as hard as possible with this deck.


2 Agadeem’s Awakening

1 Lolth, Spider Queen

3 Soul Shatter

4 Wight

19 Snow-Covered Swamp

4 Skyclave Shade

3 Power Word Kill

4 Nighthawk Scavenger

4 Faceless Haven

4 Eyetwitch

4 Ebondeath, Dracolich

4 Dungeon Crawler

3 Bloodsky Berserker

1 Bloodchief’s Thirst


1 Necrotic Fumes

1 Mascot Exhibition

1 Introduction to Prophecy

1 Inkling Summoning

1 Expanded Anatomy

1 Environmental Sciences

1 Pest Summoning

Final Thoughts

I feel like maybe it could use some work. I’m not positive if I like this more or less than Mono-Black Control, where Lolth is a bigger star. Either way, I think it’s got the potential to be a fun casual deck to smash through people with. You can get some obscenely big Bloodsky Berserkers possibly, and just sneak damage through with a Lolth Ultimate. You can even use her downtick (-3) to get a few creatures, for aggression. I probably would avoid it personally, unless you are desperate for more creatures.

Is Mono-Green The Best Deck for 2022 Standard So Far? (Mono-Green Stompy)

There’s a lot of talk about Mono-Green Stompy right now. It’s being argued to be the strongest deck for the upcoming 2022 Standard Meta. It is powerful, has a very strong mana curve, and it’s incredibly easy to play to boot, it’s been making waves. There are a few ways to run it, but they all run Werewolf Pack Leader and Ranger Class, it seems. There are some variations though, so I’ll drop a secondary decklist at the end of this. I personally prefer the one with Froghemoth, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, and Toski, Bearer of Secrets though.

Mono-Green Stompy is an oppressive deck where we have the power to drop creatures or spells on virtually every single turn. Most of the deck costs 1-3 mana, with a handful of bigger cards (the above three creatures). I love Vorinclex in decks like this, because we have so many ways to add +1/+1 counters, and every time we do, they would double. We can even control the flow of the game, by using Blizzard Brawl to potentially fight someone down and give our side Indestructible on top of it.

We’re going to do our level best to simply overwhelm people with power. A turn 1 Swarm Shambler, a turn 2 Ranger Class, and turn 3 Werewolf Pack Leader can really get things kicked off. Or we can turn 3 a Level 2 Ranger Class. Then Turn 4, we can double dip on Werewolf Pack Leaders! Who knows?! But what can we expect?

How Does It Work?

Damage, that’s what we want! Our win condition is just beating people as fast as possible. That’s why I want that Swarm Shambler turn 1. Sure he’s a 0/0 that comes in with a +1/+1 counter. But you can pay 1 and tap it, to put a +1/+1 counter on it. It can also create 1/1 Insect creature tokens. How? Anytime an opponent’s spell targets something with a +1/+1 counter on it (that we control), it creates that token. We can create lots of +1/+1 tokens too.

We can win with a variety of creatures. My favorite way is with one of the new creatures, Froghemoth. A 4/4 with Haste/Trample and costs 5 mana. We need it to deal combat damage to use its special ability. When this deals combat damage to a player, you exile that many target cards from that player’s graveyard. For each creature, Froghemoth gets that many +1/+1 counters. For each noncreature card exiled this way, gain 1 life. So that’s brilliant.

We can grant it some extra firing power in the mid-game too, through Inscription of Abundance. We don’t have to pay the kicker, to be honest. It’s perfectly fine I think to just pay the 2 mana, to give a creature two +1/+1 counters. If you want though, you can pay the 3 mana kicker, to get the other two abilities you didn’t pick. You can also pick gaining X life, where X is the greatest power among those creatures you control. You can also have a creature you control to fight a target creature you don’t! So this could make the damage on the Froghemoth easier to deal. Another new creature is in the deck that can become ferocious, the Werewolf Pack Leader. A 3/3 for 2 green, it also has Pack Tactics. Whenever we attack for a total of 6 or more power, we draw a card. For 4 mana, it can become a base Power/Toughness of 5/3, gains Trample, and isn’t a Human. So if we give it +1/+1 counters, it can be a game-winner. So how can we get some +1/+1s on the board?

Ranger Class’ Level 2 power (2 mana) grants a +1/+1 counter on target attacking creature, anytime you attack. When you have Vorinclex in play, that number doubles. That will make Swarm Shambler get pretty big pretty fast too. We also want to put counters on Toski, Bearer of Secrets. Why? Because he’s a 1/1 Indestructible for 4 mana, and can’t be countered. He must attack every turn, and whenever we have a creature deal combat damage to a player, we draw a card.

Card ramp? Huzzah! This can also help with Ranger Class’ Level 3 ability (4 mana). It allows us to look at our top card at any time, and we can cast creature spells from the top of our library. If we see a land, we can sneak out some combat damage, draw a land, play it, and then cast a creature! We’ve got a few ways to get Trample damage, thankfully, which is key. You’ve seen a few of them, but we also have Old-Growth Troll, a 4/4 Trample Troll Warrior. When it dies, it becomes an Aura enchantment (enchant Forest) and makes it tap for 2 mana. It also has, for 1 colorless: Sacrifice this land, create a tapped 4/4 green Troll Warrior creature token with Trample.

We’ve also got the old-reliable, Kazandu Mammoth. For my money, our early game is going to be buffing Swarm Shambler at every opportunity, and get that Level 2 Ranger class ASAP. That way we can keep our creatures growing, to make sure we win every trade. Try and hold 2 mana for a random Inscription Abundance. We can give something two +1/+1 counters, 4 if we have Vorinclex out. Especially great on our tramplers, so they win trades and deal damage. At the end of the day, we want to push people around with Froghemoth if possible, though we could win before that.

It can just keep growing, and keep us gaining life, while also making sure our foe never has cards in the grave. We can also do the same with Vorinclex because it’s a 6/6 Trample/Haste for 6 mana. That’s amazing value. When you consider the doubles all of our counters, and halves all of our opponent’s counters, he’s overwhelming amounts of value.


4 Faceless Haven

4 Werewolf Pack Leader

4 Old-Growth Troll

4 Swarm Shambler

3 Froghemoth

4 Toski, Bearer of Secrets

4 Inscription of Abundance

4 Kazandu Mammoth

4 Ranger Class

2 Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

4 Blizzard Brawl

19 Snow-Covered Forest

2022 Mono Green Aggro: Deck

4 Blizzard Brawl

4 Esika’s Chariot

2 Faceless Haven

2 Jaspera Sentinel

4 Kazandu Mammoth

2 Lair of the Hydra

4 Old-Growth Troll

4 Ranger Class

2 Snakeskin Veil

18 Snow-Covered Forest

4 Swarm Shambler

4 Werewolf Pack Leader

4 Tangled Florahedron

2 Gnarled Professor

2022 Mono Green Aggro: Sideboard

1 Mascot Exhibition

1 Fractal Summoning

1 Expanded Anatomy

1 Basic Conjuration

1 Containment Breach

1 Pest Summoning

1 Introduction to Annihilation

This version of the deck is future-proofed and runs more or less the same. We still want to buff our allies and swing frequently. It also has Esika’s Chariot to make sure we can keep putting tokens into play. I like it, but I prefer the above deck if I can be honest.

Final Thoughts

This might wind up being one of the top MTG Arena AFR decks of the year. Why? It’s fast, it’s powerful, it’s reliable. People are getting serious wins with it, and it has everything you need. Good responses, lots of damage, and a ton of pressure. Your creatures get bigger, meaner, scarier. You can deny graveyard shenanigans, and get bigger as a result. The growth curve on it thanks to how the deck is designed is pretty great. It’s also easy to use, so it will likely only see more play as the months go on.


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